The restoration of a Persian hand-armour

Author: Rebeka Nagy
Mentor: Márta Kissné Bendefy, Acting Head of Specialization in Leather Conservation; Andrea Várfalvi, Acting Head of Specialization in Textile Conservation

Hungarian University of Fine Arts (Hungary)
Study programme: Conservation of Applied Arts Objects
Specialization: Conservation-restoration of textile and leather, 10th semester  

Summary

NAGY RebekaThe issue of the presentation is the restoration of a Persian hand-armour - bazuband. It’s origin goes back to date of the Quadzsar-period, the 17-18th century.
The work was complicated because the object consisted of many different materials - alum-tawed leather, iron and brass wire-gauze and purple silk lining. The metals were corroded, the iron corrosion stained the whole surface of the white leather and the silk lining was dirty and torn at several parts.
The dismantling of the wire-gauze by removing the sewing threads couldn’t be avoided to ensure the safe cleaning circumstances for the organic materials. It seemed to be necessary to block the iron-ions in the leather because they catalyse its degradation. Calcium-phytate can stop this process but it is soluble in water which is harmful for the alum tawed skin, so this time i-propanol was added to the aqueous solution.
There were some difficulties with the wire-gauze as well. The corrosion had to be removed from the surface of two different metals. Mechanical cleaning followed by soaking in sodium-hexametaphosphate solution proved to be the best method. After cleaning the surface was covered with a protective layer of synthetic resin which had to be dried in a special way because of the chain-link structure.
The textile part of the object couldn’t be cleaned with water because it was not separated from the leather. But the misshaped threads had to be rearranged so the cloth was humidified. After that the textile part of the hand-armour could be conserved by sewing a support fabric underneath. At the end of the work the elements of the object were reassembled.

Short biography

REBEKA NAGY (Szombathely, 1989.) started the University of Fine Arts, Budapest in 2009. Her work for graduating is the restoration of the clothes of Erzsébet Batthyány, from the 17th century.